Borrowing privileges

Borrowing privileges are required to access certain University Libraries services, such as checking out physical materials or viewing our electronic resources from off-campus. Different categories of borrowing privileges provide different types of access.

Contact borrowing privileges staff
110 Wilson Library
309 19th Ave S
Minneapolis, MN 55455

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University of Minnesota affiliates

University of Minnesota students, faculty, and staff receive borrowing privileges automatically. Borrow materials with your U Card, and access electronic resources through our website with your internet ID.

Affiliated users can:

  • request University Libraries materials through Get It,
  • access our electronic resources remotely (i.e., while not in the Libraries), and
  • request non-University Libraries materials through Interlibrary Loan & Digital Delivery.

There is no limit on the number of items that affiliated users can borrow.


Students receive borrowing privileges during semesters in which they are registered for at least one course. Unregistered students meeting certain criteria can reactivate their privileges.

Recently graduated students keep their privileges until a new semester begins. For example, if you graduate in December your access will stay the same through mid-January. Check with your program for exact dates, as some vary.

Learn about resources available for visitors, alumni, and others that you can use after your student privileges expire.

Employees receive borrowing privileges while their appointment is active. Adjunct faculty typically only receive privileges during the semesters that they are teaching.

Unregistered students

Unregistered students occasionally need to retain library privileges to complete coursework, research projects, or thesis/dissertation research.

Graduate students who have completed all coursework and credit requirements should register for the zero-credit, zero-tuition GRAD 999 option, if possible. This will seamlessly extend remote access to electronic resources and U Card borrowing privileges.

If GRAD 999 is not applicable, complete our unregistered student borrowing privileges application. This will extend library privileges for one semester, though it can be submitted for successive semesters. Note that an advisor, department chair, or faculty member must complete part of the application, certifying that the student is working toward a degree.

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Visitors, alumni, and others

Most of our physical materials are in open stacks and can be accessed within library buildings. To confirm if specific materials are available to visitors, please contact the owning library. Though visitors cannot borrow our materials by default, some options for borrowing are explained in the following sections.

Most of our electronic resources are available to visitors on-site, on library computer workstations. Visit a service desk with a government-issued photo ID to receive a free computer workstation card. These cards provide two hours of computer access per day.

Due to licensing restrictions, remote access to our electronic resources is only available for current University of Minnesota students, faculty, and staff.

Minnesota residents

Minnesota residents can borrow most of our materials for free through their public library. Contact your public library, or use MNLINK to request materials.

Minnesota residents also have free access to many electronic resources through eLibrary Minnesota.

Special borrowing privileges and Friends of the Libraries

Joining the Friends of the Libraries or applying for special borrowing privileges allows for limited borrowing of physical materials. These users can:

  • borrow up to fifty items at a time,
  • borrow long-term loans for up to three months, with an initial six-week loan period,
  • request materials through Get It (cannot request directly from the catalog; contact us to request materials), and
  • use electronic resources on-site (Twin Cities campus libraries) without a time limit.

These users cannot access electronic resources remotely, and cannot use Interlibrary Loan & Digital Delivery.

Joining the Friends of the Libraries requires an annual donation. Submit a Friends of the Libraries application to apply for or renew your membership. The minimum contribution levels for borrowing privileges are:

Applying for special borrowing privileges is free, but is only available to specific users. Please see special borrowing privileges for requirements and further instructions.

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Proxy privileges

Faculty can request proxy privileges for research assistants by completing a proxy card application. This allows research assistants to borrow physical materials on the faculty member’s account. No further privileges are granted.

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Loan periods and renewals

The majority of our materials are classified as long-term loans. Shorter loan periods apply to certain material types and collections—including, but not limited to:

  • periodicals,
  • DVDs,
  • maps,
  • equipment,
  • reference materials, and
  • popular reading collections.

Materials renew automatically, until they reach a maximum renewal period. Users can also renew their materials manually through My Account, on the menu at the top of the page.

Renewal limits

Renewal limits are never based on the number of renewals; they are always based on the length of time from the initial loan date. Users receive a courtesy email before the final due date.

Loan period Maximum renewal period
3 hours No renewals
1 day 3 days
3 days 6 days
1 week 3 weeks
2 weeks 6 weeks
4 weeks 12 weeks
Long-term loan See long-term loans

Long-term loans

The initial loan period and maximum renewal period for long-term loans depends on the category of the borrower and the owning campus of the item.

Borrower type Initial loan period Maximum renewal period
Undergraduate student 13 weeks 6 months
Graduate student 13 weeks 1 year
Employee: Twin Cities or Duluth item 13 weeks Unlimited
Employee: Morris or Crookston item 13 weeks 2 years
Friends of the Libraries or Special Privileges 6 weeks 3 months

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